Salary Equity for ALL State Scientists

During February 2016, CAPS members ratified an MOU that reduces a longstanding salary inequity with three consecutive annual 5% salary increases. Unfortunately, when that MOU expires on July 1, 2018, the salaries of Rank and File State Scientists will still be approximately 28% behind their state engineering counterparts (see salary comparison here). State Scientists are also significantly underpaid compared with virtually any equivalent counterpart at the state, local and federal levels. Before Governor Brown’s term expires in 2018, CAPS will insist on a new MOU that restores ALL State Scientists to the historical salary equivalency they had prior to 2006.

Other areas of the state’s compensation package for State Scientists are in need of improvement, notably professional development, lodging reimbursement rates in high-cost areas and safety equipment reimbursement. But by far the greatest need is to implement Salary Equity for ALL State Scientists.

High Cost Urban Areas Especially Hard Hit. In addition to salary inequity, those State Scientists working in urban areas are especially hard-hit due to the particularly high cost of living. In order to ensure that California can recruit and retain qualified scientists in the future, Governor Brown must provide an additional adjustment to those working in these measurably high-cost areas, similar to that provided by the federal government.

Most State Scientific Supervisors Got Equity in 2014. Based on litigation and pressure from CAPS, Governor Brown granted full equity to approximately ¾ of all State Scientific Supervisors during July 2014. Ironically, the remainder of scientific supervisory classifications, most requiring a minimum of a Masters or PhD, did not receive the adjustment. So all Rank-and-File State Scientists are long overdue for full salary equity, as well as approximately ¼ of the State Scientific Supervisory workforce.

State Departments Can Help. Departmental management can and should urge CalHR and Brown Administration officials to use this opportunity to ensure that quality State Scientists are recruited and retained into the future. A push from Departmental management would assist Rank-and-File State Scientists and State Scientific Supervisors who did not receive the 2014 increase.